A lot of press is given this time of year to goal-setting and reviewing.  If you’re like most people, you’re taking the turning of the year to take stock of your life and think forward about how you want to live it.

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But while a lot of attention is paid to the recent past or the near future, that kind of short sighted view can be discouraging, to say the least.  For example, imagine you have a graph of your weight-loss progress.  If you look just over the past week or the past month, unless you’re crash dieting, you probably don’t notice much difference.  But if you look over the past six months, or year, you’ll notice much more of a gradual change.

Taking the long view puts progress in perspective.

When you look into the distant past, you see how far you’ve come.  You see how the incremental progress of a glacier carves lakes and builds up mountains.  You’re encouraged by the big changes you have made by applying a small change in your daily habits.  You see how you can write a book a page, a paragraph, a word at a time.

When you look into the distant future, you see dreams you couldn’t possibly achieve in the next month or year.  But you can identify the steps that will build that dream, one day at a time, and feel assured that you can achieve that goal if you keep working, like the proverbial tortoise.

But the long view doesn’t just apply to hindsight and foresight.  Getting that distance, that big-picture perspective, gives you a more accurate picture of where you are right now.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily grind, drowning at times in the sea of overwhelm.  But if you can get that bird’s eye view of your situation, sometimes you see that the shore is not far away, or that the water is not as deep as you thought.

So take that long view, as you see the year stretching out before you, and be encouraged.

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